If you grew up during a particular era in the United States, you’ve likely encountered a particular piece of child-friendly jewelry that was, for a brief period, a must-have on the playground: the slap bracelet—a bracelet made of a thin strip of metal housed in a colorful cloth covering which could be straightened out, and then made to curl up as if by magic when slapped on a wrist. But who invented the slap bracelet, an item that was ubiquitous in the early ‘90s? Is there an individual with whom we can credit the simple yet effective toy?
For more than 50 years, something curious awaited people adventurous enough to visit the Mojave National Preserve in San Bernardino County, California: a solitary phone booth positioned in the middle of the desert. It worked, too—and although the Mojave phone booth, as it was called, went largely unnoticed for most of its lifetime, the last few years of its existence brought with them a notoriety the likes of which most telecommunications devices can only dream. (Insofar as machines are capable of dreaming, that is.)
For people who grew up digitally savvy, Craigslist has been a part of the online landscape seemingly forever. However, the history of Craigslist reveals that that’s not actually the case; even so, it is still a venerable institution, having just celebrated its 25th birthday.
Sporks have been a fixture of school lunchrooms and fast-food restaurants seemingly forever—but if you’ve ever wondered who invented the spork, it turns out that the story is a lot more convoluted than it might seem.
No desk is complete without a pad of sticky notes, but have you ever given a thought to how sticky notes work? The science of Post-it Notes and other brands of sticky notepads is pretty fascinating—as well as no better demonstration of the idea that magic is science, and vice versa.